If I’m going down for anything it’s pride. I have too much of it. Thirty-three years old and I’ve been fired from four jobs. Three of those jobs I got canned for principal and principle alone. I could’ve bit my tongue a little harder and stayed employed, but I don’t like putting up with managerial B.S. The last job I was fired at, I argued with my boss over the right to have a different opinion than his own. I knew it was coming; I knew the boss wanted to have the last and final word. I didn’t give it to him. I goated him into firing me. I even had my mom, who gave me a ride to work that day, keep the car running because I knew this guy couldn’t let our disagreement go. I called the whole thing before it ever happened. Like most of them, I walked away with my head held high.
Pride can work adversely. It can keep you from getting the help you know you need. Early after being diagnosed for Bipolar I Disorder, my family was out at a restaurant. My aunt asked some good questions that day. She wanted to understand more about my manic depressive episodes. ‘Do you know when you’re manic or at least heading toward mania’, she posed. ‘Of course I do.. However, you should know (and I was talking to the whole group) that I will never tell a sole’. The reason I came to that conclusion so early into my bipolarity, so to speak, was not because of pride. It was simply because the rush of mania can be incredibly addictive. Once your episodic there’s really no turning back. The immense high and feeling state that comes from mania makes the whole thing worthwhile as you lose sight of how hard it is to regain stability and usher yourself back to reality. Continuing to grow and learn about myself over the years, I have, in fact, found pride to be a big hindrance in getting the help I really do need.
Less than four days ago, I must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Before I even could blink I had tears filling my eyes. I didn’t think I could make it out of my bed. Definitely early signs of depression. The depression builds as you start to think about your own hopelessness. Your mind continues to dump on you as you think about all the people you're letting down because of what you perceive to be your own failure in life. I needed help. Again, my own pride played a large role in my hesitance to try to get any. I picked up my phone and called my mom. I couldn’t put sentences together as I mumbled my way through the phone call; afraid to admit my mental state. My mom didn’t hesitate. She sensed the problem; THANK GOD. She cleared her schedule that afternoon and came over to my place to drive me over to Dunkin Donuts for some coffee. After my breakfast of iced coffee with cream and a french vanilla swirl, I was able to breathe and stand on my own two feet. Still cautiously weary, my mom did just enough for me to get a grip and lock down my bearings.
Whether going through a manic episode or one of depression, it can be incredibly challenging for people with a mental illness to show their true colors. Even people like me who are comfortable talking about their mental state. Nobody ever wants to admit any type of perceived weakness. Unfortunately, that doesn’t get rid of these inevitable mood swings. As I have learned, it can actually just make things that much worse. Already labeled with a disability and then having to throw up the white flag. Being and staying tough is the ultimate goal. Sometimes the toughest thing a person can do is to cry and scream out for help. It’s not the easy way out; it’s by far the harder way.